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Store Your Data Recorded in Digital Form

Appropriate storage and regular backups help you to protect your data over time.

If your digital data is stored in physical form (e.g. CD, DVD, video, audio or computer tapes), check our storage advice here

The choice of where you keep your digital copies depends on any commercial, ethical or cultural restrictions on your data. The Massey University Code of Responsible Research Conduct (p. 9) says that when storing research records and data, give consideration to:

  • The safety and security of the research records and data
  • The durability of the data storage method
  • The privacy and confidentiality requirements for the data
  • Requirements ascribed to the storage of the data as part of ethics approvals
  • Methods to ensure locating the data at a later date is simple (e.g. indexing and cataloguing)
  • Massey's policies on data storage and retention

Always take a risk management approach when making storage decisions.  For example, if your data cannot be recreated in the event of loss, is sensitive,  or must be kept long term, then quality storage is crucial.  More information on what data must be kept

Further advice:

Digital Security and Backup

Secure your data

Data security includes network security, physical security, and computer files and systems security.

  • Only allow trusted individuals to troubleshoot computer problems
  • Ensure that the computers used in research and/or data storage have up-to-date virus protection
  • Use strong passwords to secure files and computers
  • Encryption may be necessary for some sensitive data, especially if the data are being transferred over email or File Transfer Protocol (FTP)

Further advice:


Backup means to create additional copies of your ‘live’ or ‘working’ data, and store them in separate locations from your working data. Backing up your data is essential to avoid the risk of loss through accidental deletion, hard-drive failure, theft or damage of equipment.

All enrolled students - have access to software packages  that can help with backup of data including Microsoft OneDrive and Endnote. Visit Software at home for students.

Staff and postgraduate students - ITS recommends the use of its protected and secured "Massey Disk" Data Storage, or its cloud-supported option of of Microsoft OneDrive or SharePoint for secure backup of data.

Good backup practice suggests 3 copies of data should be retained, e.g.;

  • a copy in your computer's 'documents' folder
  • a synchronised copy of that documents folder to OneDrive or Sharepoint
  • a 'point in time' copy of all your data onto a USB or External Hard Drive, updated periodically, and stored in a separate, secure location.

Note: ITS  has no control over private cloud services (such as DropBox, GoogleDriv, iCloud) and are unable to help you to recover from them in the event of data loss.

Digital Storage and Data Processing Options

Network disk space allocation at Massey University

Talk to Information Technology Services (ITS) at the start of your project. Tell them your data storage needs and time frames and they will make a suitable data storage recommendation.

Contact ITS

ITS offers network disk space allocations for critical research data for schools and individuals.

Network disk space is available for the duration of your study or employment at Massey University.  Disk space limits are negotiable; generally, ITS allocate around 10TB per eResearch application.  If you believe you will generate more than this, ITS will advise you on your options.

Data saved to Massey University’s network is:

  • Backed up (ITS provide a backup and recovery service across all network shares)
  • Maintained and managed
  • Secure
  • Replicated
  • Protected against malicious attacks and viruses
    Learn more about viruses
  • Recoverable in exceptional circumstances (e.g. disasters)

Do not store personal content on your network disk space.

Apply online for network disk space - scroll down to the Storage heading

Portable Storage Media

Portable storage media include USB sticks, smart phones, CDs etc. Only use portable storage media as temporary storage for file transfer; for security reasons do not use portable storage media for permanent storage. ITS cannot provide support if data stored on portable media becomes corrupted or otherwise inaccessible.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives can be a good choice for backing up your data. Keep them in a relatively safe location, such as your office or at a trusted friend’s house.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage services are storage services provided over the Internet via the provider’s servers.

Massey offers up to 1TB of cloud storage in Microsoft OneDrive.

Be careful when storing sensitive research data on free, cloud-based storage solutions such as DropBox or GoogleDocs, as they may not meet ethical requirements. ITS cannot provide support (i.e. restore or backup) should something go wrong with data stored in external cloud services.

When entering agreements with cloud storage providers make sure you’ve addressed risks associated with security, privacy and your ability to maintain access to your data should service providers close down or change owners.

Further advice:

Long Term Storage

Deposit your finalised datasets in an archive or repository.

Publish and Share your Research Data - scroll down to the Ways to Share and Publish heading to find out more.

High Performance Computing

High Performance Computing (HPC) involves the use of supercomputers, parallel computing and/or computer clusters for advanced computing tasks including modelling, data processing and analysis.

Massey maintains an institution-wide subscription to NeSI (New Zealand eScience Infrastructure) which provides access to high performance computing resources ‘at scale’ for Massey University staff and students.

Manage Your Research Data Tool Kit

Researcher Development

Contact Us

Contact a Subject Librarian
Your first point of contact in the library for RDM guidance, training opportunities and practical support. Subject librarians also provide personal research help by email, phone, or appointment.

Research Development Team
Data management (funder retention requirements) advice for current and future research projects.

Information Technology Services (ITS)
Data-related services and advice on storage, backup, security, data quality, and metadata identification. Limited software for home installation.


These guidelines are informed by information provided under open licenses by other organisations including: